Judith’s Reading Room’s 101th Library – Camel Named ‘Bright’ Delivers Books

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
484-661-6151
 
Camel Named ‘Bright’ Delivers Books to Children in Hard to Reach Villages
 
October 29, 2020 — Today, Judith’s Reading Room announces its 101st library — the first-ever Judith’s Reading Room mobile library to utilize a camel to deliver books to children.  The camel driver, Murad, and his camel named ‘Bright,’  carried 500  children’s books to the nearly impossible to reach community of Kech Balochistan in southwest Pakistan.
 
The Camel Library for Kech Balochistan was awarded a 2020 Judith’s Reading Room ‘Freedom Through Literacy’ Board Option Prize.  The annual ‘Freedom Through Literacy Award’ honors champions of literacy from all disciplines from around the world.  To date, 36 individuals have been awarded prizes totaling $38,500.
 
In partnership with Ms. Basarat Kazim, President of Alif Laila Book Bus Society, who is credited with the creative and innovative camel library, Murad and Bright will visit three communities on a rotating basis delivering picture books, bi-lingual English & Urdu books, and English language very easy readers.
 
The Camel Library will circulate books via a monitoring system supervised by local volunteers.  Their goal is to develop a reading culture in these isolated communities.  Photos and videos of ‘Bright,’ the camel can be seen at 
 
“Upon seeing ‘Bright,’ one little girl exclaimed, “I never thought camels could carry books.  I only thought they could carry sticks or grass!”  “Parents report that now their children are the ones telling them stories.  Before, it was the other way around,” said Ms. Kazim.  She continued, “another girl exclaimed, ‘please let me keep more than one book — if I finish the book in one day what will I do for the rest of the week?’”
 
Judith’s Reading Room invites members of the community to donate brand new, very easy readers and picture books to add to the Camel Library.  Name tags will be inserted into the gift books with the donors name, if desired.  Donations should be mailed before November 10th to Judith’s Reading Room, P.O. Box 164, Blandon, PA  19510.
 
The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 101* libraries in 22* countries with over 128,000 books worth nearly US$1.4 million.  
 
Applications for the 2021 Freedom Through Literacy Award will be posted on our website at www.judithsreadingroom.org in January 2021.  
 

Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates Harkins House

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Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates Harkins House
Delivers Books Hand-Picked by At-Risk Youth
 

March 18, 2020 — . To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, Judith’s Reading Room, a global literacy non-profit organization founded in 2010 kept good on its promise to bolster libraries it has donated over its 10 year history. 

 To celebrate the milestone, the board of directors allocated $5,000 to be invested in 10 of its 99 literacy initiatives.   Portland, Oregon’s Harkins House is named one of the ten “stand out” libraries.  Led by board member David Leiber, 39 books worth $637 – all picked by the kids themselves — were delivered to Harkins House on March 13.
 
Since 2012, Judith’s Reading Room has collaborated with educators  and counselors at Harkins House, a nationally recognized shelter for delinquent youth near Portland, Oregon, and has delivered nearly 600 books for leisure reading and book clubs.

The idea is to instill in this unique population a love of reading.  Why? Literacy is a significant protective factor for at-risk youth and is strongly correlated with reducing recidivism, according to Mindy Chipps, Juvenile Counselor.   Harkins House serves over 100 youth per year.  Last year the number totaled 122 with 80% returning to their community.  She added, “Literacy is supported by everyone at Harkins House because books help kids returning to school by dropping barriers, heightening interest, and fostering the love of favorite topics.”

Chipps added that youth residing at Harkins House have the opportunity to actually read a book, unencumbered by stresses and strains from their often untenable home environments.  Most stay 60 days and in that time, many come to see reading a book as a way to escape painful environments.  

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  In the ten years since its founding, Judith’s Reading Room has established 99 libraries in 21 countries filled with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through LiteracyThe deadline for receipt of completed applications is July 1st.  Winners will be announced by the end of July.

99TH LIBRARY – Judith’s Reading Room Opens 2nd Library in Mississippi

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Judith’s Reading Room Opens 2nd Library in Mississippi 
Organization Champions Literacy in Communities That Lack Books
 
February 24, 2020 — In celebration of Black History Month and the organization’s 10th Anniversary, Judith’s Reading Room dedicated its 99th library today — its 2nd in Mississippi — in collaboration with Rev. Dr. Leoda Topps, Ph.D, Education and Pastor at the Avery Chapel Church in Southaven, MS.
 
Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit organization founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian who dedicated her life to freedom of speech and access to books for all, has established libraries in 21 countries filled with over 128,000 books.
 
To celebrate the organization’s 10th Anniversary, the Board of Directors allocated $5,000 to be divided amongst 10 of its “stand out” libraries.  Rev. Dr. Topps is one of the 10 to receive the organization’s special commemorative award.    Specifically, Judith’s Reading Room purchased 73 books for its 99th library.
 
In 2014, Judith’s Reading Room teamed with Rev. Dr. Topps to deliver more than 700 hand-picked children’s books to St. Peter’s AME Church in Tunica, MS, where Dr. Topps vowed to assist children after school with their homework and to help improve their reading skills.  That donation became our 86th Judith’s Reading Room Library.  
 
Rev. Dr. Topps said, “I’ve reached out to a preacher at one of my sister churches to help pull in community children to visit the new library at Avery Chapel Church.” She added, “As a newcomer to Southaven, I have found that many of the children come from single-parent homes with multiple children and the mothers’ work schedules don’t allow them to spend much time reading to their children.  This is where the church can step in to help.”  
 
Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  In the ten years since its founding, Judith’s Reading Room has established 99 libraries in 21 countries filled with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through LiteracyThe deadline for receipt of completed applications is July 1st.  Winners will be announced by the end of July.

Judith’s Reading Room’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Honors 10 of its ‘Stand Out’ Libraries 

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
484-661-6151
 
 Judith’s Reading Room’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Honors 10 of its ‘Stand Out’ Libraries 

 January 28, 2020 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization, founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, Director, Office of Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association and cousin to the founders.   Its mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  The organization has fulfilled its mission by establishing 98 libraries in 21 countries with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.

Judith’s Reading Room chose to celebrate this milestone by honoring 10 of its ‘stand out’ libraries  A special fund of $5,000 has been set aside to purchase new books for each library. 

 The 10 Judith’s Reading Room ‘Stand Out’ libraries are:

TEACH Rwanda, whose founder, Janet Brown, hails from Easton, Pa was the first to be notified that her organization was selected as one of the ten.  In 2016,  Judith’s Reading Room established its library in Rwanda at the Bright School in Muhanga, where public schools and libraries are rare, with a donation of 137 books valued at $1,181. 

“With Judith’s Reading Room’s help to provide the best books from around the world, Bright School is well-known in the community for children’s love of reading, “said Brown, President and Founder of TEACH Rwanda.   

“By supporting the good work of others, we aspire to share and celebrate people who are doing genuinely astonishing work, instilling in others a love of reading,” said Scott Leiber, Co-Founder of Judith’s Reading Room.

In addition to libraries, Judith’s Reading Room holds an annual competition for the “Freedom Through Literacy Award.”  Initiated in 2015, Judith’s Reading Room has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Applications for the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award may be found at www.,judithsreadingroom.org.  Deadline is July 1st.  Winners announced end of July. 

98TH LIBRARY – Judith’s Reading Room Opens Library in Greece

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Judith’s Reading Room Opens Library in Greece

A village declares its first community library

January 20, 2020  — 

Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith Krug, a librarian, announced today the dedication of its 98th library in its 21st country in collaboration with a visionary and unstoppable elementary school teacher from a village on an island in north Greece.

The village of Potamia, on Thassos Island, did not have a community library, making it difficult for children to celebrate the joy of reading and to develop literacy skills.  That was until Vicky Xanathopoulou reached out across oceans to apply online for the 2019 Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award.  Xanathopoulou won the coveted 2019 “Judith’s Award,” for which only teachers, librarians or authors are eligible.  To augment her $500 cash prize, for which she flew to New York City to accept, the organization decided to help her establish a community library in her seaside village. 

The 98th Judith’s Reading Room library is housed inside the historic Cultural Union of Polignotos Vagis stone building, originally used as a fishing sanctuary for monks.  A museum, it hosts cultural events and will now house the community library.  Judith’s Reading Room provided 75 children’s books in English. Villagers are augmenting the library by donating books from their home collections.  All books will be available for loan and families will enjoy organized reading activities and book presentations.  In all, 150 children will be served by the library.

“I’m so happy and grateful for the opportunity given by Judith’s Reading Room to the children of my village to have more reading and cultural experiences,” said Xanathopoulou.  

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  In the ten years since its founding, Judith’s Reading Room has established 98 libraries in 21 countries filled with 128,000 books valued at nearly $1.4 million.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Visit Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award for current award information!

2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Named

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2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Named

Empowering Global Communities to Create Positive Reading Experiences

From Allentown, St. Paul and New York City … To Greece, Zimbabwe and Australia

July 27, 2019 — Lehigh Valley, Pa — Judith’s Reading Room names “Barbershop Books,” as Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award.  Led by educator and author Alvin Irby, based in New York City, Barbershop Books is a laser-focused community-based program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops involving Black men, Black boys and Black barbers.  Irby believes that “early positive reading experiences help children identify as readers and when children identify as readers they are more likely to read for fun.”  The Barbershop Books program currently has child-friendly reading spaces in 140 barbershops across more than 30 cities and 20 states, reaching over 5,600 boys per month.  Books are selected by young Black boys and Irby’s program provides early literacy training to barbers.  For his work, Irby is awarded the 2019 Grand Prize Award valued at $3,000.

The Judith’s Award — exclusive to teachers, librarians or authors — names Vicky Xanthopoulou, originator of “Let’s Play Book,” its 2019 Judith’s Award recipient.  The elementary school teacher from Potamia Village, Thassos Island, North Greece created the innovative project titled, “Let’s Play Book,” which combines in her words, “the innate impulsion of children to play with the need to penetrate the text and all book’s aspects.”  “Let’s Play Book” is the winner of numerous Greek literacy distinctions and is based on reading animations designed to cultivate shared values for her multi-cultural students.  Her work is essential:  there is no lending library in her village, so her original publications have proven to be essential in providing basic literacy tools.  For her innovative, creative and passionate work in a village with no library, Judith’s Reading Room awards Xanthopoulou the 2019 Judith’s Award valued at $500.

The Board Option Award with a total prize of $1,000 is shared amongst four visionary individuals. The winners of the 2019 Board Option Award are:  

Karen Brown, Caring For Cats Shelter Volunteer, “Cat Tales — Kids Reading to Cats,” based in North St. Paul, Minnesota.  At this no-kill all volunteer cat shelter, Brown provides books for children to read aloud to kitty cats while they consider adoption.  One mother wrote, “My son’s fondness for reading is rather small.  But the spot in his heart for cats is quite large.  I’m hopeful that this will help him learn to love reading.” She writes, “we provide an entirely different setting where the kitties and children are both primary program beneficiaries.”  Brown is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $300.

Kathleen Kapila, Librarian, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, “LGBT Children’s Literacy:  Drag Queen Story Hour” based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  “The connection between community and literacy is especially true for people with marginalized identities,” the application states.  Drag Queen story hours, in which drag performers read books to children, encouraging a love of reading and freedom of gender expression, speaks to the heart of the Freedom Through Literacy Award and to the life-work of Judith Krug, in whose memory Judith’s Reading Room was created.  As founder of Banned Books Week over 40 years ago, Krug’s favorite book to read aloud in elementary classrooms was And Tango Makes Three, a story of two male penguins raising a chick.  Kapila is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $300.

Sue Goatley, nonprofit leader, Children in the Wilderness, for her support of “St. Mary’s Primary School Library Enrichment Project,” based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  In the Hwange Region, where there is nowhere to buy books, St. Mary’s Primary School is a haven for its 845 students who rely on the school for opening up their world through books.  We recognize Sue Goatley for her work to provision a library in a country that does not provide government support for rural educational resource needs and for recognizing that even if the child cannot read, the idea of a book is “such an exciting prospect for them.”  Goatley is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $200.

Kulasekara Mudiyanselage Chanith Wijeratne, Author and Illustrator, for his project “Promoting Conservation Through Inspired Reading,” Essendon, Victoria, Australia.  Chanith, at the age of six, published Wildlife of Udawalawe National Park at Lens Range — the first-ever book about this globally popular National Park in Sri Lanka.Wijeratne has since completed 10 books on the wildlife of Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa.   His attitude toward literacy is clear: “being able to read and write prepares us well to serve fellow human beings.”  We recognize Chanith Wijeratne, who is in Grade 12, as an accomplished author, naturalist, and role model for other children.   Wijeratne is awarded a 2019 Board Option prize valued at $200.

Judith’s Reading Room mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 97 libraries in 20 countries (and counting!) with 128,000 books donated valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award, initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event, has disbursed $33,500 in prize money, honoring 31 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Mexico, Australia, Zimbabwe and Greece.

Visit Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award for current award information!

Judith’s Reading Room Opens Library in Honduras

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Literacy Non Profit Dedicates its 97th Library
Judith’s Reading Room libraries are now found in 20 countries

March 25, 2019 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, established in 2010 to honor the memory and legacy of Judith F. Krug, a librarian, announced today that it has established a library containing over 400 books in the mountainous town of Zambrano in the Central American country of the Republic of Honduras.

Lafayette College Librarian, Ana Luhrs, a former member of the board of directors of Judith’s Reading Room, recently led a group of Lafayette students to build a curated library for exceptional women selected by village elders to attend The Leadership Center (TLC) in Zambrano.  Ana used the funds she was awarded as a winner of the organization’s 2018 Freedom Through Literacy Award to purchase books, among them autobiographies of women, and to create a culture of reading for pleasure. 

“Access to information beyond the classroom allows students to take ownership of their educational journey,” said Luhrs.  “Library collections, especially well-curated collections, provide a variety of perspectives beyond that of a classroom textbook and an instructor,” she added.

 “Judith’s Reading Room stands with the dozens of young women hand-picked to learn management and leadership skills at TLC so that they can become highly productive leaders in their country,” said Cathy Leiber, Co-Founder, Judith’s Reading Room.  “Thanks to Ana Luhrs, having a library at TLC which is packed with books to encourage a love of reading, students will be able to explore the world when there is little opportunity to leave their country,” added Leiber.

Since 2010, Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 97 libraries in 20 countries.  The organization sponsors the Freedom Through Literacy Award which has disbursed $29,000 in awards to 25 individual champions of literacy.  Additional information and the application for the 2019 Award can be found at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/freedom-through-literacy-award/

2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award Press Release

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber484-661-6151
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org


Judith’s Reading Room Seeks Applicants for its 
2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award

January 21, 2019 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 literacy organization founded in 2010, announced today that applications for its 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award can be found online at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/APPLY.   The prestigious award, that honors multiple winners, carries a total cash prize of $4,500.  Deadline for submission of applications is July 1, 2019.  

The annual Freedom Through Literacy Award — the signature element of Judith’s Reading Room — is open to individual champions of literacy including teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, educators and literacy nonprofits  — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  

In addition to the $3,000 Grand Prize, the Judith’s Award worth $500, is limited to  teachers, librarians and/or authors, who are also eligible to win the Grand Prize.  The Board Option Award, totaling $1,000, was created to acknowledge the passion of our board members who are constantly on the lookout for individuals doing something exciting in the world of literacy.

Since its inception in 2010,  Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 96 libraries in 19 countries and counting, with 128,000 books donated valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  Since 2015, The Freedom Through Literacy Award has disbursed $29,000 and has honored 25 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico.

Winners of the 2018 Freedom Through Literacy Award Announced

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NEWS RELEASE  
CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber
2018 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Announced

Local Champions of Literacy Dominate This Year’s Awards

July 30, 2018 — Lehigh Valley, Pa. — Judith’s Reading Room proudly announces this year’s Top Prize winner of its Freedom Through Literacy Award is the Macungie, Pa Willow Lane Elementary teaching duo Julia Dweck and Matthew Weimann.  The goal of their project, “Release Your Fireflies,” is to creatively equip children to navigate a complex world through storytelling, paving the way for an appreciation of and lifetime membership in the universal library of human literature.  Top Prize award is $3,000.

Carin Mileshosky, Library Director, Fleetwood Area Public Library, Fleetwood, Pa (a Pa Library Association Gold Star Library) is awarded the organization’s Judith’s Award in the amount of $500.  The Judith’s Award, a new prize category this year, is designed exclusively for teachers, librarians or authors.  Carin’s integrated and fun-filled program, “FleetwoodSUMMER 2018,” attracted 180 individuals to attend creative programs; 150 of whom committed to reading over the summer, thereby reducing the negative impact of so-called “summer slide.”

The Board Option Award with a total prize of $1,000 is shared amongst four visionary individuals.  Christopher Dew for his boy scout Eagle Project, “Mini-Library for Lehigh Valley H.O.P.E.” is awarded $300; Ana Luhrs, Lafayette College’s Skillman Librarian for “The Leadership Center Library in Zambrano, Honduras” is awarded $300; Cheryl Stoner-Gutshall, Dover Area School District, for her project, “Outdoor Education Book Creator” is awarded $200; and, Marsha Townsend for her nonprofit, “Bringing Up a Bookworm” is awarded $200.

A celebratory award dinner will be held in their honor on Wednesday, September 12 at 6 p.m. at MELT, located at The Promenade Mall, 2880 Center Valley Parkway, Center Valley, Pa.  The public is encouraged to attend the dinner.  To reserve your space, a check made payable to Judith’s Reading Room in the amount of $45 per person must be mailed to P.O. Box 164, Blandon, PA  19510 and received no later than Wednesday, August 29.

Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy 501 (c) 3 based in eastern Pa was founded in 2010 in memory of Judith Krug, first cousin to the founders.  The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by dedicating 96 libraries in 19 countries (and counting), with over 127,000 books donated and valued at nearly $1.4 million dollars.  

Since 2015, The Freedom Through Literacy Award has disbursed (including 2018 winners) $29,000 and has honored 25 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico. 

 

Visit our Freedom Through Literacy Award Page

 

96th Library-Mexico joins 18 other countries

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Judith’s Reading Room Expands Globally with       Announcement of its 96th Library

Mexico joins 18 other countries to open a Judith’s Reading Room Library

April 16, 2018 — Lehigh Valley, Pa.  Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit organization founded in 2010 to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy announced today the opening of its 96th library in its 19th country with The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, Mexico. 
The Palapa Society of Todos Santos is a non-profit whose mission is to create prepared 21st Century learners.  The organization was a 2017 Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award winner and received a check in the amount of $500.  With that, they purchased approximately 50 children’s books in English and Spanish including BFG by Roald Dahl and Frida by Jonah Winter.   
The effort to teach English at the Biblioteca Infantil (Children’s Library) is to counter the low level of household literacy and reading habits in the Todos Santos community.  Compounding the problem is that local public schools do not have libraries nor do the classrooms contain books outside of textbooks.  The Palapa Society aims to change all that through the collaboration with Judith’s Reading Room.  Joy O’Brien, Program Director of The Palapa Children’s Library said “ the 162 ‘library enthusiasts’ were waiting to get their hands on the new books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. “ 
The 2018 Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award application process is underway.  The 2018 Award will grant $4,500 in prizes.  The deadline to apply at www.JudithsReadingRoom.org/APPLY is July 6, 2018.  Since its inception, Judith’s Reading Room has dedicated 96 libraries in 19 countries with 127,679 books worth nearly $1.4 million dollars.  The Freedom Through Literacy Award has disbursed $24,500 and has honored 19 individual champions of literacy in the United States, the Philippines, Bhutan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico. 

The Palapa Society of Todos Santos

Por fin or finally as we say in English! Here is a foto of a few of our 162 “card-carrying” library enthusiasts waiting eagerly to get their hands on the new books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. Just as there are only a very few of the kids in the foto, it is also only a portion of the books that were purchased with your generous donation. The others flew off the shelves before the foto could be made. Not a day goes by that one of the books that Judith’s Reading Room purchased is not being checked out for the enjoyment of our kids. We can’t thank you enough….
Joy O’Brien, Program Director of the Palapa Children’s Library (Biblioteca Infantil), Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico